Grafton is known throughout Australia as one of the most breathtaking cities. Lined with Jacaranda trees and blanketed in purple flowers, the city is as inspiring as it is interesting. Picturesque waterways dominate the landscape of Grafton, and it is famous for its Bridge Ski Race and events such as the annual July Racing Carnival. This year the city will be overrun with additional visitors as the Clarence River Jockey Club celebrates its 150th anniversary with fun, activities and live horse racing action.
The date 30 July 1861 is very significant to the Clarence River Jockey Club in Australia. It is a day of celebration that was marred by the tragic events of the day, making this date unforgettable in the minds of the locals and the horse racing community. It was the very first time that racing was to take place under the umbrella of the newly established Clarence River Jockey Club, but instead of enjoying a day of racing splendor, the racecourse stood still in silence as Martin McGowan collided with another horse and lost his life. He was a station hand, fifteen years of age, and did not see the other horse travelling in the opposite direction until it was too late. Even though the heartache of the event will never be forgotten, the Clarence River Jockey Club went on to become a major role-player in the horse racing industry of the district.
Magnificent facilities are now available at the racecourse, including a hundred stables, a turf training track, a turf racecourse, a synthetic track, two grandstands, parking, food outlets, betting services, bars and dining room. Although developing into a first-grade racecourse is most certainly an achievement, as well as hosting spectacular events such as the Grafton Cup, their 150 years of existence is a feat worth celebrating.
On the 25th of September 2010, the Clarence River Jockey Club will be celebrating its anniversary in style, and invites all racing enthusiasts and members of the racing industry to join them in a day of festivity. Visitors can look forward to a memorabilia exhibition, live music, jumping castles and much more. This promises to be a day of excitement, filled with cherished memories.